Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Georgia's Safe Place

Georgia's safe place has always been her kennel, since the day we brought her home. She doesn't spend as much time in there as she used to, but she will absolutely kennel herself if she's tired or overwhelmed. EGR has also adopted it as her safe place.

Last weekend, I needed to vacuum up some mess in the basement. I knew Ella would want to be downstairs with me, and I knew she would freak out when I turned on the vacuum. I don't know when or why she went from falling asleep when it's running to total fear of it, but she has. In a moment of inspiration, I had this conversation with her.

Me: Ella, I have to vacuum up this mess on the floor.
Ella: (wide-eyed silence)
Me: If you get scared when I turn on the vacuum cleaner, you can get in Georgia's kennel. You'll be safe there.
Ella: Ella kennel.
Me: You want to get in there?
Ella: Uh-huh. (she crawls in and covers up with Georgia's blanket)
Me: Do you want me to shut the gate?
Ella: Uh-huh.
Me: Okay, you are safe there. I'm turning on the vacuum, it's going to be a loud noise.

I proceeded to vacuum and she proceeded to watch quietly from behind the bars of the kennel. She did not cry one tear. When I finished, I asked if she felt safe in there and she told me she did. Then she didn't want to get out, so I left her in there and told her to call for me when she was ready to come upstairs. It worked perfectly. I couldn't believe it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baby Boy Eats Cheetos

In Ella's pretend world, where she is already taking care of her new brother, he eats Cheetos. She feeds them to him through my belly button. He's also had yogurt bites and she shared her milk cup with him this morning. I've explained several times that the baby will not be able to eat food until he gets bigger, that he will nurse and drink Mommy's milk when he's a little baby just like she did. I have a feeling there will be lots of discussion about what he can and cannot eat when he's born because she will want to share her food with him. She also cuddles with him and "plays" with him by blowing raspberries on my belly. She says she will blow green bubbles for him when he's born and sing to him. Last night she was singing "Jesus Jesus Jesus, there's just something about that name...". I think he likes it because he usually starts moving around when she's talking to him.

Right now, she's enjoying the benefit of an influx of tiny baby clothes for her dolls. I've already received bags of clothes from yard sale finds and people handing them down. I washed, folded and put away two baskets of clothes ranging from Newborn to 9 month sizes over the weekend and I think I have at least three more loads to do. I can't believe I even worried for a second about boy clothes. Good grief, I'm running out of room to store the ones he won't be able to wear right away. Ella is having a blast ripping through the baskets to find outfits for her babies - suddenly, they are all turning into baby boys. Oh, and I overheard her talking to one of the dolls yesterday while she rocked it, she called it Georgia and referred to herself as "Mommy Ella."

We broke out the kiddie pool over the weekend for the first time this season. Ella wanted to get in it with her clothes on and I explained to her that her bathing suit would dry much faster than her t-shirt, so she should change if she wanted to swim. She finally decided she would wear her "babysoup;" I decided we should call it a swimsuit from now on to avoid confusion. She was wearing 24 month size swimsuits that were too big last summer, and they are pretty much too small already. I think the child might just need to wear tankinis instead of one-pieces because her torso is so long. That would be easier for using the potty anyway, which she wants to do when she's wearing a swim diaper because she knows it's just not right. She requested a Tigger swimsuit because the one she was wearing only had Piglet on it. I hope I can find one, else it won't have characters at all.

I'm happy to report that she finally has her appetite back. It never returned after her sugery when she caught a nasty stomach virus (and gave it to me). I was starting to think she was entering the "toddlers don't eat" phase, but she started shoveling it in again over the weekend. She ate two bags of yogurt melts in between her real meals. WHY don't they make those things in big bags?! We need to buy them in bulk.

As for me, now that I've recovered from her germs, I feel fine. Baby Boy is staying lower in my belly than she ever did, so I feel more pregnant than I am but otherwise I'm doing well. I did break down and buy a bottle of TUMS for my purse, but thankfully I haven't had to eat so many since the virus went away. I was really scared I was doomed to 20 weeks of serious indigestion, but it turns out it was just the virus. This is week 21, and according to my pregnancy calendar, Baby Boy should be about 7 inches crown-to-rump, and and weigh around 11 ounces - and he's probably hiccupping. I started noticing the hiccups over the weekend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Little Conversationalist

Since her surgery, Ella's verbal communication has developed even more. She will now have conversations that include her original thoughts.

Here are a few examples:

After eating all of the canteloupe and leaving the watermelon in her snack bowl:
Ella: More. (pointing to the empty canteloupe spot)
Me: You still have watermelon. Eat that and I'll get you some more canteloupe.
Ella: More. (again pointing)
Me: If you don't eat the watermelon, who will?
Ella: (after a moment of deep thought) Birds.
She got more canteloupe.

While I was leaving for work one morning she was picking her nose (an obsession that's reared its ugly head again).
Me: What's up with your finger in your nose?
Ella: Booger.
Me: You have a booger in there?
Ella: Big one.
Me: Let me see. (found no boogers) I don't see any.
Ella: (with finger in nose again) Reach it, Mommy!

Sometimes at bedtime, she pretends someone is handing her things - food mostly, I think. She'll pretend to take it, eat it, and say thanks. One night, she randomly placed this order.
Ella: Two fries, cheese hamburdeger.

Dave is working on our master bathroom. He took a couple of weeks to gut it, during which time the door was closed and we explained to her that Daddy was working and he's going to build a new bathroom. Now we have this conversation frequently, usually when she's checking his progress.
Ella: New bafroom.
Me: Yes, Daddy is building us a new bathroom.
Ella: Potty?
Me: Yes, it will have a new potty.
Ella: Showder?
Me: Yes, a new shower, too.
Ella: Ella, new showder?
Me: Yes, Ella can take a shower in the new shower.

If the phone rings...
Ella: Phone ringin'!

If the dog passes gas...
Ella: Georgia poop.

If she decides she wants to go for a walk...
Ella: Walk! Strollder.

She makes me laugh. I love to watch her think and then put her thoughts into words.

It's a Boy!

Our 20 week ultrasound last week revealed that this baby is a boy. He's also healthy and measuring perfectly for his due date in late August. Much like Ella, he was lying across my abdomen (head on one side and feet on the other) so getting all of his measurments was tricky, but he was a little more cooperative than she was in her ultrasound. He moved around some and didn't hide his face when the tech needed to look at it. He was proud to show off his goods; she got several "it's a boy" shots. Are all boys that way even before birth?

While a lot of things about this pregnancy have been the same - things like what I'm eating, anemia at the start of the second trimester, slower hair growth on my legs, etc - there have been subtle differences. I don't have my strong steak aversion like I had with Ella (that's a relief), my face is breaking out more, and so far this baby is staying lower in my belly. He doesn't seem to have the same sleep habits as Ella either. She was always very low key during the day, then partied in the middle of the night (at the same times she still wakes up today). He seems a lot more active during the day and I think he sleeps most of the night. He might not be big enough to wake me up yet, but even when I am awake, I don't feel him moving.

As for EGR, she knows that we are having a Baby Boy. She leans down close to my belly and says, "Good morning, Baby Boy." Yesterday she was kissing him. She talks all about him - about his ears, his clothes, his diaper, if he will need cream on his bottom, etc. Yesterday while we were waiting for supper, she told him it was suppertime. She also told me to get him out. I explained that he can't come out yet because he's still growing, but I know we'll be having that conversation for the rest of the summer. I can understand her impatience. Now that I've seen him, I'm getting impatient myself. We've got quite a wait left though; this week marks the half way point.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Good Riddance Tonsils; We Won't Miss You.

Ella had her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in both ears Tuesday morning. One week after her last ENT appointment, but only because I harrassed the scheduling lady until she squeezed us in. The day after the appointment when he told us he was going to take them out, she woke up with a runny nose that made her able to breathe even less than she could already. For three days I managed to get a decongestant in her, and then she decided she was finished taking medicine (with the exception of Motrin and Tylenol, thank goodness). At any rate, the surgery couldn't come soon enough.

As directed, I starved her after midnight Monday, and didn't let her have a drink of anything after seven Tuesday morning. With the exception of a meltdown at 2:00 Tuesday morning when she REALLY wanted some milk, she handled it quite well. I had explained to her that she could have some Coke when she woke up, but no milk and then I would have to put her cups away. Well, when she got thirsty later, she first asked for milk. I told her she couldn't have any until after the doctor fixed her throat. So she asked for Coke. I told her she couldn't eat or drink anything until after the doctor fixed her throat. She told me, "Bag. Cup." That meant, "Get my cup out of the bag." Our conversations went like that all morning. She knew we were going to the hospital for kids to get her throat fixed.

Once we got into a room to wait on the surgeon, she started to melt down a little. The waiting was just too much. There were several crying fits just because, and she DID NOT want to wear her hospital gown and bracelet. She took the gown off twice before I gave up on it and let her go in her diaper. As predicted, the hardest part of the entire day was handing her over to the nurse and watching her walk away from us with my crying daughter in her arms. Then we waited.

They moved us to a real room to stay the night, and that's where they brought her back to us. She was pitiful. She'd obviously cried hard when she woke up because the were tears and snot smeared all over her face and hair. She had a new sippy cup clenched in a death grip. When the nurse put her in my arms, she started waving and saying, "Hey, baby." I'm not sure if she actually saw the picture of a baby on the back of the door or if she was hallucinating from the good drugs, but it made me feel better to hear her say something she always says. Then, completely out of character, she held up the cup and said, "Apple juice" and drank it down. Then she passed out for 3 hours. They had given her morphine before she left the recovery room because they didn't know if the crying was from pain or wanting me. Whatever, I was grateful that she was knocked out and not feeling anything. She woke up a little here and there through the afternoon - once long enough to eat some yogurt and finish her juice, and once to eat some mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and chicken and drink some milk.

Each time she woke up, she passed back out, so we didn't even try to get some more medicine in her until after 6:00. That was a debacle. The doctor had prescribed Loritab for her, and apparently the liquid kind is nasty. The nurse managed to squeeze the whole dropper into her in between the writhing, screaming fits, and then she threw it all up. So, she gave her some Motrin instead. That apparently worked well enough for her. Later we tried the antibiotic, and the results were even less successfull than the Loritab. It looked like a Pepto Bismol bottle had exploded all over her and the room when we were finished. Yes, she hates taking medicine. She hasn't always been this way, but she's just had enough of it lately.

Through the whole evening she kept saying "Band-aid, take it." That means take it off, and "band-aid" referred to both the IV taped to her hand and the oxygen monitor. The novelty of those things wore off quickly. They had unhooked her from the IV pump, but the she stayed connected to the oxygen monitor all night - that is when she didn't take it off. That thing nearly drove me out of my mind. We managed to keep it on her most of the night once she was sleeping, except when she rolled over and it popped off her finger and the alarm blared through the relative quiet in the room. Sometime in the middle of the night, she held up her IV hand with the little port hanging off and said, "Take it tag!"

In between begging to "go home" and "take it" she handled everything really well and was quite funny about her hospital experience. Late in the evening we found a wagon and walked around the hospital for a while just to get our of our room. There was a big display of Disney characters that we spent quite a while studying and talking to. She did wake up screaming once in the middle of the night when the Motril wore off, so we tried the Loritab again. It didn't go well and once I got her calmed down, Dave suggested we just wait for the Motrin. The nurse brought it back and hour later and that's all she had until morning.

She slept with me on the chair cot because her room came equipped with a crib. That was a joke. She looked at that thing with disdain when I asked if she wanted to lay there with her pillow. She did sit on it to eat her supper, and we used it for a changing table, but otherwise it was a large bedside table for us. She hasn't slept in a crib in 9 months, so I knew that wasn't going to happen. Squeezing the two of us onto the cot was interesting, but we were both tired enough that we did actually get a little sleep on it. Her more than me, of course. She was still sleeping when the doctor came in at 6:15 the next morning. He said, "Listen, you can't hear anything." I think I teared up when he said that. It's so true. She's so quiet when she sleeps now, and even during a disruptive night in the hospital for kids she got better sleep than she has in months. I'm so very grateful.

The first thing she said when she woke up was "go home" so we got out of there quick. We were on the road by 7:15, equipped with a prescription for Loritab that I didn't even fill and a prescription for antibiotics. She's supposed to take it twice a day for ten days. Yeah right. I'm putting it in her milk. She's drinking less milk. :) Oh well, I'm trying. For pain, we are alternating Motrin with Tylenol because our Motrin doesn't last as long as the hospital's dose.

She's doing really well. I know from her behavior when it's time for more medicine, otherwise she's playing, eating and drinking. She's sleepier than normal, but she's handling this all better than I ever expected. For that, I'm also grateful.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers. I can already see the positive effects of this surgery in her demeanor and her peaceful sleep. The change in 24 hours time is dramatic.